SEC love in college football playoff rankings continues to raise questions

November 19, 2014

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee announced its fourth set of top 25 rankings on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, despite the lone SEC team in last week's top 4, Mississippi State, suffering a loss this past weekend, we now have two SEC teams in the top 4: Alabama (who jumped from #5 to #1) and Mississippi State (who fell from #1 to #4). Funny how that works.

The logic behind both of those decisions was disturbingly inconsistent.

Mississippi State lost to Alabama pretty decisively last Saturday in Tuscaloosa, 25-20. Only a late touchdown by Mississippi State made the game look tight - a gap of two scores or more existed for the large majority of the game.

The selection committee chairman, Jeff Long, suggested that Alabama moved to the top spot because they controlled their game against previous #1 Mississippi State and thus deserved to be rewarded for such an impressive showing.

Okay, team A dominates a previously well-regarded team B and goes past 4 teams with an equal or better (Florida State) record. We get it, all wins are not equal.

But why is Mississippi State still in the top 4, ahead of several other teams with one loss who aren't in the SEC?

Long's reply was basically that Mississippi State was fairly impressive in defeat, because one "never felt they were out of it."

Please. Either Alabama beat them decisively or Mississippi State looked good in defeat - you can't have it both ways.

If one were to take the weekly rankings seriously, this might suggest that Mississippi State, who currently would not qualify for the SEC championship game, has the inside track to get into the 4-team college football playoff if they win their final two regular season games. This would be particularly disturbing to some if one-loss Big 10 and Big 12 champions are left out of the mix

Most college football fans, even those not living in the South, have acknowledged that the SEC has been either the best or at least close to the best conference each year for the past decade. However, the majority of those same fans are equally certain that the SEC has been given a disproportionate amount of love from the media and in the polls.

Now that media giant ESPN and the SEC are more economically linked than ever, the skepticism is rightfully at an all-time high. Weekly decisions like this will undoubtedly fuel more speculation that the process is somehow rigged in favor of the SEC.

Here are the full Top 25 rankings for the week.

1  Alabama 9-1
2  Oregon 9-1
3  Florida State 10-0
4  Mississippi State 9-1
5  TCU 9-1
6  Ohio State 9-1
7  Baylor 8-1
8  Mississippi 8-2
9  UCLA 8-2
10  Georgia 8-2
11  Michigan State 8-2
12  Kansas State 7-2
13  Arizona State 8-2
14  Auburn 7-3
15  Arizona 8-2
16  Wisconsin 8-2
17  Utah 7-3
18  Georgia Tech 9-2
19  Southern Cal 7-3
20  Missouri         8-2
21  Oklahoma 7-3
22  Clemson         7-3
23  Nebraska 8-2
24  Louisville 7-3
25  Minnesota 7-3

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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